You have to admire the frankness of Mary Alice McLarty of the Dallas law firm of McLarty, P.C. She's running for vice president of the American Association for Justice and in her statement of candidacy does more to acknowledge the AAJ's membership and financial difficulties than any of the association's current leadership:
AAJ has seen a serious membership drop. I will advocate for a new plan for membership recruiting and retention with a regional approach, including a sales force of dedicated AAJ staff, placed around the country working with state TLAs. I will actively participate in this effort.
I will raise money and make sure it's being well spent. While on the Executive Committee in 2008-09, I was one of the first to recognize and advocate for a much needed management change. We need leaders with the judgment to recognize when things aren't working and the courage to speak up.
Compare that to the statement of the other candidate for vice president, Richard M. Golomb of the Philadelphia law firm of Golomb & Honik, P.C.:
AAJ has come a long way in the past ten months under the extraordinary leadership of Anthony Tarricone. I think, in my own way, I was of help and would like to continue in the leadership of this great organization while serving our members, the civil justice system, and the folks we represent. Let's continue to move forward.
Golomb is currently secretary and is already looking forward to being AAJ president "in the all important election year of 2012."
Insurgent vs. old guard! Founder of a small personal injury firm vs. big-time Philadelphia trial lawyer. It's a great story line, especially if you add the context of the AAJ becoming ever more focused on Washington, hiring its top D.C. lobbyist as its CEO and devoting less energy on state concerns to focus on lobbying Congress and the White House. Golomb's statement prominently notes his role in helping defeat medical liability reform: "At the request of Linda Lipsen and Anthony Tarricone, chairing a $1,200,000 fundraising effort ("Protecting Patients Rights") to help defeat efforts to include medical malpractice "reform" in the Obama Healthcare Reform Bill."
The association's membership meeting and elections are at its annual convention in Vancouver, B.C., which starts this weekend. AAJ members will also be voting on a dues increase to address the trial lawyer association's financial problems.